According to USA TODAY, Small businesses have put hiring, supply buying and real estate expansion on hold as they wait out the vote on a small-business-aid bill that stalled in the Senate earlier this summer.

The much-debated legislation offers tax breaks and waived loan fees. But it also comes with more divisive components, such as a $30 billion fund that would help community banks give loans to small businesses. Opponents say the fund would be a mini version of the often-criticized TARP large-bank bailout program.

Many small businesses had hoped the legislation would pass the Senate by the end of July. With two weeks left until Congress reconvenes, those firms are in a holding pattern.

What’s in the bill:

    – An increase on government guarantees to as much as 90% on some of the most popular loans. That would mean a little less pressure on banks if a company defaults, because the government would insure a larger percentage of the loan, says Bob Coleman, publisher of the Coleman Report. With current guarantees topping out at 75%, “there is a bit more exposure” for banks, he says.

    – Community banks with assets of $10 billion or less would be able to tap into the $30 billion fund when making small-business loans. About 8,000 banks would be eligible.

    – Small businesses would get about $18 billion in tax breaks, such as larger write-offs on capital equipment investments, and get credits for new hires.

    – The SBA would be able to increase the maximum for certain loans to $5 million from $2 million.

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